MANDY LION: 'DON ARDEN Represented Everything This Industry Should Be About But Rarely Ever Is'

WWIII frontman Mandy Lion has issued the following statement regarding the passing of music mogul Don Arden (Sharon Osbourne's father), who died on July 21 at the age of 81:

"I am sad to let everyone know that one of the greatest men I ever knew died on Saturday...

"Don Arden was more than just my manager to me. He was more than just my friend and mentor. He represented everything this industry should be about but rarely ever is. I feel lucky to have been discovered by this man amongst many other musical acts such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, BLACK SABBATH, E.L.O., AIR SUPPLY and the list goes on and on. When it came to finding talent he was second to none. When it came to making stars out of talent he ruled supreme and his influence on music today is beyond measure.

"The man was a genius, without a doubt. His sense of humor had me rolling countless times. His strength was an inspiration to anyone lucky enough to get to know him.

"I will never forget the night I met him...

"He came to see one of my performances without me knowing about it. I was 17 years old, clueless and determined to make something of myself. All of a sudden everyone stepped aside and a man approached me. It was literally like a scene from the Godfather. Don Arden, surrounded by what I could only guess were bodyguards, walked up to me and simply told me that I am going to be his new Ozzy. The man had an aura of power unlike anyone I ever met. I cannot think of a day in my life when I felt more honored and sure of my path.

"Within weeks I had a deal with a major record company, within months a 17-year-old Mandy Lion was recording an album with the BLACK SABBATH drummer and the RAINBOW/DIO bassist and shortly after that he had me open for IRON MAIDEN.

"What a manager!!!

"Don, I thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you for getting me started and thank you for the priceless memories. I will miss you...

"David [Don's son and Sharon's brother], if you are reading this, I cannot imagine your pain right now but stay strong. You are the only one who can and will continue Don's legacy..."

Arden passed away in a Los Angeles nursing home from undisclosed causes, although he was known to have Alzheimer's Disease. He was 81.

Born Harry Levy in Manchester, England, Arden became known as the "Al Capone of pop" and the "English Godfather" for his tough-guy business practices while overseeing the careers of acts ranging from ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA to BLACK SABBATH. Arden and his daughter became estranged in 1982 after she took over the management of SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne's solo career, also marrying the singer. Father and daughter were not on good terms for nearly 20 years until reconciling in 2002.

Sharon Osbourne had to pay her father $1 million in a court settlement after she gained control of Ozzy's affairs.

Arden began his career as a singer in London. He later began to book tours for acts like Gene Vincent and Little Richard.

Arden had a fierce temper and allegedly hung competing manager Robert Stigwood off a fourth floor balcony in 1966 when he learned that Stigwood was trying to woo away one of his acts, the SMALL FACES.

Arden published an autobiography in 2004 called "Mr. Big", after another one of his industry nicknames.

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